Archive for July, 2010

A Scene Imagined from a Photograph

A frozen frame.

A tree with an amputated limb. Thick limb stump protruding like a pig’s snout. The tree truncated by the frame holding the black and white, almost sepia, photograph. Old men seated in an imperfect semi-circle before an old tree in an old courtyard in an old country. An Italian courtyard.

The man wearing a cap, sitting somewhat apart, with a clear view of the others, had gestured just as the shutter tripped. Talking. Holding court. Three men, one of them balding, watch with solemn expressions. Another in glasses reads a paper. Two others, partially obscured, stare off into the distance in opposite directions. A lone smoker, hair disheveled, cigarette drooping from fingers held between his legs, a plaid jacket draped over his shoulders, head low.

Seven men frozen in time. The speaker’s words long dispersed and long forgotten. A fleeting moment in a fall afternoon, suspended as if awaiting judgment, begging for resolution.

A discussion of politics? Harping wives? Disappointing children? Failed crops? Serious expressions. Serious matters.


A fallen comrade. Old men contemplating the end. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. A breeze has ruffled the hair of the smoker. The staring men aren’t distracted, they look away to look within. The reader studies, once again, the obituary. The speaking man is a leader. Admired. An intellectual. A citizen-philosopher who once had dreams and designs. Now he comforts his friends and explains. As best he can. And they believe. They have always believed. Except for one. The balding man holds a piece of fruit in his hand. He is the lone skeptic. A doubter. The envious one.

In the autumn of the year. In the late autumn of lives with winter on the horizon, the chill already in the air, men sit in front of a dead tree with the cold and the dark looming.


Categories: From Swerve to Bend

Joy of Poop

N. eats gruel, at least that’s what it looks like. Fiber stirred into yogurt. Resembling the stuff Biafran children, stick figures with bellies distended and flies buzzing around cartoon sized heads, scoop up with their fingers. N. grimaces after each bite and quickly washes it down.

N. confesses that she has trouble pooping.

My bowels are as reliable as the atomic clock. Twice a day at least. The trains are never late. I also get the urge to go every time I’m in an office building or a facility where strangers are milling about. An instinct urges me to mark my turf. I know where the good and bad public restrooms are around town. I’m a connoisseur of the loo.

I’ve known a lot of women with blockages of the poop chute. Well, not a lot. Relatively speaking, I mean. Not one man has ever complained to me about his irregularity. Only with female friends (especially lovers) do I have “close encounters of the turd kind”.

J. had a miserable time with it. She’d take my hand and make me probe a spot on her lower abdomen, like waiting for a baby to kick, and there would be the knot. “See?” she’d say and frown, shaking her head. C. usually had an enema bag draped indelicately over the edge of the bathtub. More than one was fond of, if not addicted to, laxatives. I found confirmation of my suspicions with an internet search. Women are more prone to constipation than men (or at least complain to their doctors more) and the medical profession isn’t sure why.  

N. got me thinking. As much as I dwell on my own shit (the figurative kind), I almost never contemplate my own shit (the literal kind). So here is my own personal taxonomy of crap. I thought it important to drop it on you. To lay it out there. To push the load your way. To rub your noses in it.

Easy come, Easy go: The healthy version. Effortless. Pale and intact in the pot. Barely a smudge on the T.P.

Mud Pie: Pasty. Yucky. Lengthy clean up required for both dispenser and receptacle. Multiple flushes to wash away the stubborn, clinging spot. Or, horror, the brush!

Loch Ness: A rare sighting requiring photographic evidence or a credible witness to be believed.

Sand Bar: A thin layer of granular sediment. Disappointing and uninspiring.

Packing Peanuts: Like the little Styrofoam chunks wedged around the new tea chest. Methane rich, floating little stinkers.

The Runs: No explanation required although the occasional projectile “Ladder 7” version is worth noting.

Kaleidoscope: Too much avocado yields an almost fluorescent green. Beets once scared the shit out of me (pun intended).

Oh Baby! Oh Baby!: Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. The orgasmic poop. Requiring just the right amount of effort. Fulfilling (especially the “album rock” version).  A glass of wine would be nice. Smoke if it’s your habit.

There you go. Under most wonderful things you can do without props or a Platinum Visa, pooping probably ranks 3rd.

1. Fucking

2. Sleeping

3. Pooping

More gruel, please.


Categories: A Day in the Life...

FUBAR Tuesday: The Possessed

Author Tom Robbins once wrote, “that which you hold, holds you”. He could have said, “he who possesses, is possessed”. As the economy languishes or, as some would argue,  American-style capitalism goes through its final death throes and as our political discourse becomes more shrill, it may be time for a lifestyle change. Even if you have more confidence in consumerism than I have, there are lots of reasons to “go lean”.

In a similar period of economic distress and political upheaval, Nazis were able to energize the German people through hatred and fear. Hitler served up the Jews as the bogey man in order to consolidate power and lead a nation to its destruction. Currently, the Right Wing element of the Republican Party is using the same formula by serving up blacks and gays.

With Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, et al manipulating the Tea Bagger (a modern version of the Brown Shirts) with race baiting, the Right moves closer and closer to their end goal  – a race war – as an excuse to oppress and to put the finishing touches on the corporate police state.

Millions of Jews lost their lives, not because they didn’t see the danger (though, like us, they surely under-estimated it), but because they couldn’t take their material wealth out of Germany with them. They couldn’t bear to abandon a lifestyle.

As froth-at-the mouth, howl-at-the-moon, bat-shit-crazy Tea Baggers openly advocate violence, including the lynching of President Obama, as fools like Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin are treated as credible by mainstream corporate media, we tip-toe closer to the abyss.

I am neither gay nor black but I live in a neighborhood where whites are a minority and I understand that when the shooting starts I’m right in the cross-hairs and it won’t matter which side picks me off. It’s time to divest, to prepare to bail at a moments notice – not just from OTR or Tea Bagger infested SW Ohio, where health care and streetcars are viewed as Socialist plots, but from America, the land of the Lost and the home of the Sheep. I no longer want to live in a place where the only things that are valuable are those which can be purchased and where people are gauged by their ability to consume.

And neither should you.  


Categories: Breaking the Chains

Neon’s 7.7.10

Black linen dress and floppy straw hat with a ribbon and bow. High heeled sandals. She moves like a schooner, waves parting at her bow. Fluid and buoyant. A sleek vessel. Thin of limb and chin. Floating proudly. I should go below.

To check for barnacles.

It’s hot. If you stay in the heat, it feels natural. Because it is. It’s only when you move in and out of air conditioning that you notice. I spent the day in Scripp’s Center with air conditioning set on “meat locker”. It’s like being in a morgue. Fans circulate the Neon air. Schooner holds the hem of her dress as she orders an Anchor beer.

An appropriate choice.

Neon’s is canine friendly. Canine mattress. Canine toys. Black canine bowl with canine water. A Boxer nips at his owner’s leg, at the leash in her hand. Wants to play. Another dog of unidentifiable breed greets the Boxer, canine style. Nose to ass. Greets Boxer’s owner, canine style, nose to crotch. Evolution has muted our sense of smell. We hominids are a visual species. As Chauncey Gardner reminded us.

We like to watch.

In this heat everything ripens. The olfactory steamer has been restored and launched. I smell the fecundity of Neon’s. Humanity stewing in its own juices. Tart and sweet and redolent of fertility. I should drop to all fours and introduce myself to the Schooner.

Bow Wow!

Categories: A Day in the Life...



Categories: Etc.

Lunch with the Taliban

Fountain Square with a Subway sandwich. Take a half-day off and extend the Holiday week-end. But an opportunity to catch some rays and read a little turns into an aural assault by a Christian Proselytizer accompanied by an ecclesiastical choir. Officially sanctioned, with a stage and a sound system and guards.

We’re living in an age of unrestrained fornication, I’m told. It’s depressing. It means I’m the only one not getting enough.

A lady thrusts a booklet in my face. I shake her off. Most people accept it but many leave it on the table or on their seat. I gather them up from the tables and seats nearby for the recycle bin but have second thoughts. I pluck one out of the green receptacle and begin to read. Rule #1 in the act of war is to know thy enemy. The booklet was written by Mr. Samuel Gipp in 2004. Stars and stripes are on the cover. The title is “We Are Americans”. Sarah Palin has already told us that there are “real Americans” and “others” so I assume that is what Gipp means.

Much of the booklet is devoted to cherry picked sayings by the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers had much to say about religion but it looks like we should ignore inconvenient utterings. There is no mention of Jefferson’s fervent argument for the separation of church and state. I also cannot find my favorite Ben Franklin quote, “Lighthouses are more useful than churches.” While I read, the Proselytizer on stage offers the “In God We Trust” phrase on our money as proof that the U.S. was founded on Christian principles.

“In God We Trust” was added to our currency in 1957, during the Eisenhower Administration.

The Proselytizer makes lots of references to Sodom and Gomorrah. He rails against unnatural and sinful sex. I mean, look! 

But back to the booklet:

“… the attention of Americans was carefully steered to less important but all-consuming pursuits…sports, education, world acceptance…” (emphasis mine)

– I guess we should be uneducated, isolationists.

“… hid their hatred for the God of America behind their insincere demand for “tolerance”… (emphasis mine)

– Okay, intolerant, uneducated isolationists.

“… through movies, public schools, and the “new morality” sex, alcohol, gambling, environmentalism, pornography and other addictive, destructive actions were introduced into the lives of unsuspecting Americans.” (emphasis mine)

– Children. Which one is not like the other?

“What Can You Do?”

 “Apologize to God. Wait! If you’re about to excuse your actions by blaming someone else, save your breath. Any cheap, intellectual midget can play the “Blame Game”. (emphasis mine)

–   Apparently midgets will not be tolerated. Especially cheap ones.

“The Faith of Our Fathers”

 “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of history’s undisputed facts…That tomb is still empty and can be viewed in the land of Israel today.”

–   An empty tomb is proof of resurrection from the dead? Really? We should talk more. You see, I have this bridge for sale.

“Think about it. The founders of all the other religions in the world are still dead. What good is a religion that can’t even get the founder out of the grave?”

–   I am truly speechless. But wait. Here’s my favorite.

“Define Yourself”

“One of the tactics of God-haters is to try to create a fog of doubt with confusing definitions of what America and Americans really are. When you hear an argument and come away confused, you know you have been attacked by someone who means you no good.” (emphasis mine)

–   Actually, when you hear an argument and come away confused, it might mean that you’re stupid.

Inside the booklet are two little pamphlets. One tells me that “False Christs are on the rise. Any man who claims to be the Messiah is insane unless he was virgin conceived.”

–  Did I mention my bridge? The one for sale.

The other pamphlet is from The Morning Star Baptist Church with a smiling Pastor Dan Ferrell and his clutching Stepford-wife Janie on the cover. Janie stands behind rather than beside the Pastor. It says that they “…believe that the way to finance the Lord’s work is by free-will offerings.”

 –   I’ll bet they do.

Here are 10 things I learned today:

  1. Everyone is fornicating all the time. Except me.
  2. Trust what our Founding fathers said. Remember, “Lighthouses are more useful than churches.”
  3. Education is a less important, all-consuming pursuit.
  4. Environmentalism is an addictive, destructive action.
  5. Samuel Gipp won’t tolerate “cheap, intellectual midgets”.
  6. The Religious Right are easily confused by arguments. There’s also # 3. Hmmmm.
  7. Public education wants children to be homosexual, drug addicted, alcoholics. (I must have been absent that day.)
  8. Pastor Dan Ferrell and his Stepford-wife Janie like free-will (and tax free) offerings.
  9. Jesus is a Zombie. Other religious founders are just dead.
  10.  Normal people should pray for the Rapture. Soon. So we can get some peace and quiet and get back to the important business of fornicating.


Categories: A Day in the Life...

There’s Always Next Year

Kelly glistens. Like sparkles glued to construction paper. Luminescent pinpoints among freckles. Sandled feet on the back of the bleacher seat in front, she brushes dark hair off her neck and sips at the beer that is already warm though it came from a cooler carried into the stands minutes ago.

“Cold beer! Cold beer, here!

Baseball has been a lifelong passion. The Reds on the radio when I was growing up in the hills east of Chillicothe, Ohio. Sandlot games. We could never field complete teams. We needed only two outfielders, three infielders, a pitcher and a catcher.  We could sacrifice the catcher if we had a brick wall or a fence for a backstop and runners weren’t allowed to steal. Baseball was my favorite sport because, unlike football or basketball, it’s a small, speedy guy’s game. I liked to pitch because I could show off my quasi-ambidexterity. Righty Mick was all fastballs. Left Mick served up a steady diet of breaking pitches including a particularly devastating eephus. Righty Mick often got the shit pounded out of him. Lefty Mick was more effective but flew open as he released the ball. Defenseless.

I heard the crack of the bat. Then darkness. The kids standing over me when I “came-to” looked at me in horror but also in awe, looking at my nose splattered against my cheek. The blood was impressive. Facial and scalp wounds bleed out of proportion to the actual damage. My mother fainted when she saw me.

The old country doctor mashed my nose back into place, more or less, with his flattened hands, knuckles against my cheek. Working. Working. Branches cracked and loads of gravel rattled down a hillside in my mind. My already impressive proboscis stuffed with cotton and taped with splints into straightened verticality. The ruined grill of an almost new car. Headlight eyes glowing purple, then yellow and green. Boys gleeful in their mockery until they discovered what a powerful emotion sympathy is among pubescent girls. I’m surprised I didn’t start a fashion trend.

I reconnected with baseball in Cleveland. Old Municipal Stadium with 5,000 of my closest friends. An Indians baseball fan is an authentic baseball fan. No room for band-wagoners. I doubt they can afford a wagon. At Municipal I’d wind up peering around a pole watching Joe Charboneau lope up the slightly graded left field after a rope of a line-drive off the opposition’s bat. Super Joe was the purest of players. Not because he was the 1980 A.L. Rookie of the year with a .289 batting average but because he opened beer bottles with his eye sockets. But Joe’s fame was fleeting.

I was already in Cincinnati when Jacob’s Field was built. Before the powerful Indian’s teams of the 90’s. Before the 455 consecutive home game sell-outs. Before the consecutive playoff appearances. Before the 1997 heartbreak of Game 7 of the World Series that I watched on an airport television on my way back from Italy. Nagy took the loss in the 11th inning but it was Jose Mesa who blew the lead in the 9th. Omar Vizquel was right. Mesa was a choker. Mesa is gone and Municipal Stadium is a reef off the Lake Erie shore. A home for fish. I’ll bet the sightlines are terrible.

And the Indians are back to being the Indians. Last place, lovable losers. Being an Indians fan is to be a yearlong baseball fan. Indian’s fans keep track of trades and acquisitions in the off-season knowing that next year’s team will be better. Next year is always better.

In the sun deck of Great American Smallpark, enjoying Clevelandesque weather, sunny and warm but dry, I long for the seagulls gliding in off Erie. Another round of beers for the group. Kelly discovers a sticky substance on her seat and her ass. We’ll call her Candy Ass for the rest of the afternoon. The Phillies are ahead but I don’t think they’ll hold the lead. I want the Reds to win and they do but it’s a tainted victory. The Reds feel like a mistress to me. I feel like a cheat enjoying myself in the company of a charming and alluring woman while my true love sits home alone and waits.

For next year.

Categories: A Day in the Life...